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Sask Rivers board maintains status quo on campaign finance reporting

Option to create campaign spending limits and require trustee candidates to disclose donors voted down.
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Next election trustee candidates will be listed randomly on the ballot, rather than alphabetically.

PRINCE ALBERT — After awaiting more information about trustee election campaign finances, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division Board of Education decided to stay with the status quo.

During their meeting on March 18, the board approved several options for the upcoming election. However, an option that would create campaign spending limits and require trustee candidates to disclose who donates to their campaign was voted down, with the board asking for more information.

The board received that information at their regular meeting on April 15, prompting another vote. Trustees once again declined to create campaign spending limits or require campaign disclosure.

“Further Information was needed for them to have a conversation, but in the end, the vote was to remain as we have in the past elections and not have a disclosure of funds that are raised,” Director of Education Neil Finch said.

A motion by trustee Bill Yeaman to waive any campaign spending limits and disclosure requirements concerning campaign contributions and expenses did not pass in March. After further discussion, it was decided to defer the decision until Chief Financial Officer Jerrold Pidborochinski could provide further information and the decision was made in April.

This was the recommendation by administration.

During the March meeting, the board approved several options, all other options were approved unanimously.

The biggest change for the next election will be how the ballot looks. In the past, trustee candidates were listed alphabetically by surname. Now, they will be rotated and randomly assigned by the returning officer.

The City does not require occupations on ballots and the administration recommended not to include occupations on the nomination paper and ballots.

The board also voted not to have candidates include a criminal record check with their nomination papers.

The board also voted not to return the deposit of $100 to all candidates whether they win or lose as recommended. The options included returning the entire amount, retaining the candidates' fee or returning to those successfully elected.

The school board election will be held on Nov. 13 with the nomination deadline date set for October 9.

Administration has had preliminary meetings with the City of Prince Albert and Prince Albert Catholic School Division to discuss particulars of the election.

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